What happened to Starbucks’ vanilla syrup ?

When thinking about an article I often read back my notes, I am definitely a power user of the notes app on my Apple devices and this is just the perfect underestimated tool we should all use. I first thought of this article on February 12th 2022 when I ordered a vanilla latte in the center of London, it just tasted so bad compared to what I was used to. Since I am very curious, I searched a bit on their website and was not surprised to see an avalanche of 1 star comments complaining about the “new” vanilla syrup.

Is it a cost chasing choice or simply a bad new recipe ?

Given the margin Starbucks is making per drink, we could hope to at least have something tasteful and that is made in a smart way. First of all, syrup is just a mix of water and sugar, with the thickness being determined by the amount of sugar added. Being cheap on syrup is in my opinion a really bad indicator of the financial health of Starbucks…

Screenshot from Starbucks website of a bottle of the famius vanilla syrup

I could find a comment of a real fan of this syrup, who use to buy some at Starbucks for his home, and he found out that the new one is produced in China. The recipe is different from the previous one, full of dodgy chemicals.
I could also find plenty of Reddit forums talking about this subject, making me confident that I was not going crazy on a crusade against the coffee mermaid.

My guess is that they went cheap on this little sweet extra, I noticed that they are not launching new products for a while, so they must be only trying to milk their clients… the wrong way.

Alternatives do exist, and they are much tastier & cheaper somehow ?

You probably noticed in many other coffees they use Monin syrup for their drinks. Monin is a French company, in my childhood it would be the syrup I would drink diluted in water at my grandma’s place. I am quite impressed that such a small company made its way into many big coffee brands across EU. Right now I am writing from a “green cafe Nero” in Poland and it’s available.

Looking at their website, they seem to have diversified quite a lot the last few years, selling anything from alcohol taste to agrumes, flowers and even tea flavour, at about €12 per liter on the B2C market.

I could only find the current Starbucks Vanilla Syrup retailing at a price around $20 per liter. 😱 If you ever loved their previous syrup, I would highly recommend you to give Monin’s a try ! They seems to ship worldwide, at about the same prices as in France, I just checked their Pistachio Syrup on USA store:
https://www.monin.com/us/pistachio-syrup, sounds good 🀩.

I spent some time on their website, they even propose recipes for delicious drinks, like the “Caramilk Latte“, I will definitely give it a try.

If you ever lived in China like I did, you probably won’t give it a try…

I remember the well known scandal of how China make honey and how it sell it to countless industrial in the World that want to cut costs. Why is Chinese honey so cheap ? Because it’s made in laboratory, chemically, not at all by bees… It looks like honey but only taste like chemical sugar.

Many complains on their websites

If the vanilla syrup comes from the same factories, I don’t even want to know what’s in it. I can’t believe Starbucks decided to sell their soul to cut costs on it. With all the scandals that punctuate the life in China, we are crazy to authorise any food to be imported from there. To be honest, Green tea might be the only product I would consider ok to buy from there. And even it, given how polluted the country is, is probably not healthy.

This makes me come to another subject, health of the Y generation

We were born in plastic, our generation has been exposed since before day 1 to many endocrine disrupters, chemicals of all sorts in the objects at home, from the Ikea glued furnitures to baby bottles, from toys to all kind of creams for baby skin.

I am worried even more when I see people my age, starting to have concerning health problems, like cancers or organs that are not responding like they should be at their age.

I went to the mountains last week, and was glad to meet my 99yo grand grand mother. She was born in 1923, was 16 when the WW2 began, was a nurse in France during the war, and lived the rest of her life hard working in the mountains. I even met her mother, she died when I was 12 at 102yo. What do they have in common ? Even though they lived through very rough times when they had nothing – NOTHING AT ALL- they always were in non polluted environment, they were eating food from the garden and they had little to no pollution in their homes (wood furnitures, metal kitchen tools).

The view from the mountains

I told her that even with the technology we have today, I would be lucky to reach 2/3 of her lifespan.

I feel like my generation is doomed, we will be the generation that definitely is poorer than our parents, that faces crazy inflation and low wages, unemployment and consequences of pollution and global warming.

I am not complaining, in fact we are not complaining, I often see the boomers striking and complaining about getting less rich that they use too, we did not have the chance to know a better situation so we are staying silent.

I think my generation is either super resilient either spoiled. I remember during covid my 85 yo grandpa being more than ever mad at the government because of the lockdowns, whereas I was just accepting it. My only hope is that the global warming situation; which young generations seems to take more seriously than the rest of the population, will make us finally take our destiny in hands, or maybe it will be WW3.

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